Have you heard the chatter about Net Zero? Or is this the first time you have heard of it? Either way we predict this is going to become A BIG THING with regards to public sector tending over the next few years. Why? Because the UK has made a commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero (Carbon Neutral) by 2050 in line with what is needed on a global scale to prevent the most severe forms of climate change.
Net Zero is the project name for the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming and prior to Covid was becoming somewhat of a buzz word/buzz phrase for anyone talking about reducing carbon footprint and subsequently carbon emissions. As the nation and businesses recover from Covid, we anticipate that Net Zero will once again become an important focus and objectives will be set for its achievement, which will filter down through public sector supply chains and procurement activities.
What does being Carbon Negative mean?
DEFINITION: The reduction of an organisation’scarbon footprint to less than neutral, so that the organisationhas a net effect of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rather than adding it.
Why is Carbon Negativity important?
Two words: climate change!
By reducing the amount of co2 being emitted into the atmosphere we can significantly reduce global warming.
What does this mean for public sector tendering?
You may well start to be asked for a policy on your carbon footprint/emissions/commitment to Net Zero – depending on the industry you are operating in.
There is pressure on the government to look at every industry and how carbon can be reduced starting at the top with energy firms all the way down to producers and growers of food and everyone in between.
Whilst an awareness of your organisation’s carbon footprint and the actions you take to minimise it is likely to form part of your existing Environmental Policy, we forecast a more distinct stance with focussed and planned targets will be needed in order to convince buying organisations of a strong and pro-active stance on Net Zero.
What can you do?
At management level we would recommend,if this issue hasn’t already been tabled, that discussions are held about beginning to monitor carbon emissions and creating a policy surrounding how you are going to contribute to the UK’s reduction of carbon emissions. This will put you ahead of the competition and really futureproof your business. See here a great example from Tesco of how they track, monitor and measure their carbon footprint: https://www.tescoplc.com/sustainability/foundations/topics/carbon-footprint/
Simple things that make a huge difference:
- Could company cars bereplaced withelectric cars or at least Hybrid ones?
- Could your haulage process be more streamlined to reduce number of loads, miles travelled etc.?
- Could renewable energy be installed at your premises?
- If you are a manufacturer, are your processes as green as they can be?
- Raw materials – some materials take more carbon to produce than others. Do you have visibility of this in the products that your business consumes or uses in its supply chain?
- Move to a paperless office (or as much as you can): One tonne of everyday white, un-recycled paper creates the equivalent of 2 tonnes of carbon emissions, consumes 22,000 gallons of water, and puts a little under a tonne of waste into our landfills.
- Allow more flexible working: reduce the carbon emissions associated withcommuting by allowing your staff to work from home 1-2 days per week.Covid has provided many organisations with the testing ground for home working, so for many the infrastructure to support this is now in place. For those organisations have not yet enabled or commenced home working, there are many tried and tested remote working solutions available that will enable you to connect with your teams and share information efficiently throughout the working day.
- Create a plastic free culture at work: encourage as much “plastic free” behaviour as possible – remove plastic cups from water coolers and instead offer glasses or reusable water bottles. Remove single use plastic bags across the premises. Encourage staff to think about the amount of plastic they are bringing onto the premises each day.
- Say no to standby: all electrical equipment should be turned off at the end of each working day – computers, printers, microwaves, radios etc. This includes leaving phone chargers plugged in when not in use.
There are many more fantastic ideas, guides and tools on the Carbon Trust website resources pages, including these:
Other useful links: